1999-05-18 - P1: Petition in Prayer
The Holy Alphabet Series
Isaiah 26:9, "With my soul I have yearned for you in the night; yes, my spirit within me earnestly seeks you."
"Petition is a prayer, wherein we desire the preventing or removing things hurtful, and the obtaining of things needful, either for this life, or the which is to come, Isaiah 37:20, Matthew 6:13, Psalm 6:1-5" --Robert Port
This is an interesting phrasing by Port. I think especially of his comment that we petition God in order to obtain things needful in the life to come. Why? I guess I don't see the point of praying for things in eternity. I am counting on the promises of God in Scripture regarding eternity and have never thought to pray concerning them. Nor do I intend to start now.
However, petition in prayer is a big part of our lives. But we need to avoid falling into the trap of viewing God as our cosmic wizard who grants our wishes and desires. Prayer is a manner of communion with God, our savior. It is not a way of getting stuff, or having a genie.
When we pray we are bending our souls toward God. We are, as it were, in a state of submission. Prayer recognizes first that we need help, and prayer towards God recognizes that we find our help in God. When we bend our souls toward God we are seeking His help and His aid. In so doing we are asking for His will to be done in our lives.
Petitions then should be carefully worded and thought through before they are made. We shouldn't even bother to pray for something that is contrary to the will of God. How absurd would it be to pray that, just this time, since we really need to lie in this situation, God would let us get away with it. Such a prayer is preposterous. When we petition, we seek the will of God to be done.
The Queen of Sheba, in 1 Kings 10:8, says to Solomon, "Happy are your men, happy are these, your servants, that stand continually before you, and hear your wisdom." So it can be with us, as we approach the throne of grace in prayer. We are ushered into God's presence and are exposed to the wisdom and will of God. Let us not do this erratically, but constantly. It is a blessing to be with God often.
The following antidote relates God's tenderness and understanding of our needs in prayer …
Little Eddie's mom was sick and removed from the family so she would not contaminate the rest of them. Eddie wondered if his mom loved him because she had left him, and so he wrote her a letter. He scribbled on the sheet of paper, folded it, and put it in an envelope, saying to his father, "send this to mamma and see if she loves me."
No one could make out what the note said. Even a lawyer looked at it. His mother got the letter and laughed and cried when she saw it. "It is from my dear little Eddie," she said, "and I can read every word of it." She answered the letter with one of her own to him. She knew his desire, even if she could not make out his scribbling.
So it is with our heavenly Father. He hears our petitions, He knows our desires, and He sees our hearts. How great is the encouragement to pray to Him and send Him letters of prayer.
Soli Deo Gloria,
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